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Gut. 2002 May;50(5):687-92.

Mutations in serine protease inhibitor Kazal type 1 are strongly associated with chronic pancreatitis.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Medical Center St Radboud, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



Although chronic pancreatitis is associated with risk factors such as alcoholism, hyperparathyroidism, and hypertriglyceridaemia, little is known of the actual aetiology of the disease. It is thought that inappropriate activation of trypsinogen causes pancreatitis, and indeed in cases of hereditary pancreatitis mutations of cationic trypsinogen (PRSS1) have been described. As serine protease inhibitor Kazal type 1 (SPINK1) is a potent natural inhibitor of pancreatic trypsin activity, we hypothesised that SPINK1 mutations would be more common than expected among an unselected cohort of adult chronic pancreatitis patients.


To detect the prevalence of SPINK1 mutations in a cohort of chronic pancreatitis patients.


DNA was isolated from a cohort of 115 adult patients with chronic pancreatitis of alcoholic (n=72), hereditary (n=10), idiopathic (n=24), and miscellaneous (n=9) origin. We performed mutational analysis for two PRSS1 mutations (R122H, N29I) and four specific SPINK1 gene mutations (M1T, L14P, N34S, P55S) and compared the results with a control group of 120 healthy Dutch subjects.


In six of the 10 patients that fulfilled the criteria for hereditary pancreatitis, but in none of the control subjects, mutations in the PRSS1 gene were found. In 14 patients we detected a SPINK1 mutation. Eleven patients were heterozygous for the N34S mutation and sequencing confirmed the homozygous state of N34S in a brother and sister. Two patients carried the P55S mutation, one as a compound heterozygote with N34S. The M1T and L14P SPINK1 mutations were not found in our cohort. The N34S mutation was detected in only two of 120 controls, while the P55S, M1T, and L14P mutations were absent in the same group. Patients with the N34S allele had a later onset of disease than those with PRSS1 gene mutations but earlier onset compared with the mutation negative group.


Identification of SPINK1 mutations in 12.2% of patients with adult alcoholic and idiopathic chronic pancreatitis suggests an important role for SPINK1 as a predisposing factor in adult chronic pancreatitis.

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